First off, congratulations to Chris Henderson, Moviehouse, and the North Brooklyn Public Art Coalition for an excellent and unique program series. Monday night, there were more than sixty people huddled on the India Street street end, watching two documetaries projected on a wall of a warehouse where several murals commissioned by NBPAC still exist (if you haven't seen them yet, go now! They'll be destroyed soon).
The first movie was an extremely enlightening look at disappearing industries in East Williamsburg and the many pressures industrial businesses face. It was directed by Daniel Ross and Tom Vigliotta, and part of a WNET Thirteen web series. I was particularly struck by Embee Sunshade, the worn-down brick building (even the letters are askew) on 722 Metropolitan Avenue holding one of America's oldest umbrella manufacturers that is facing financial pressures because fewer people and businesses are buying umbrellas for the beach, rooftops, andoutdoor patios, and suppliers are dwindling. EWVIDCO works hard to help these businesses, but rent is still climbing in these areas as developers are looking for the next hot neighborhood to build condominium buildings. Excellent vignette.
The second film, directed by JL Aronson, was about pigeon rearing and flight clubs in Southside Williamsburg. It is a very interesting look into how the South Side has changed over the past thirty years, how the roof is a sanctuary from street life (and how pigeons kept individuals from selling drugs on the street), and the social aspects of pigeon clubs. I wanted to know more about how people teach pigeons how to fly in packs, but maybe another time. It also reminded me a bit of the episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live where Mike Tyson, who grew up in nearby Brownsville, talked about raising pigeons. The clip isn't as funny after watching Aronson's documentary.